GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A trio of rookie sprinters posted some of the fastest times in the history of the Alabama swimming and diving program Thursday at the Southeastern Conference Championships being held at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.
"We had some good things happen today," UA head coach Eric McIlquham said. "We had some great swims in the morning, with our sprinters and IMers and came back and got some points here in finals. We need to be a little better on a relays and get some really good swims going tomorrow and keep climbing the ladder."
Freshmen Vlad Caciuc and BJ Hornikel became the third and fourth Alabama swimmers to break the 20-second mark in the 50 freestyle, when Caciuc clocked a 19.86 and Hornikel came in at 19.98 during the preliminaries. In the finals, Caciuc and Hornikel took 15th and 16th respectively, touching at 20.00 and 20.34.
Caciuc is now ranked third and Hornikel fourth all-time at Alabama, following school record holder Apostolis Tsagkarakis (19.32 – 2007) and Olympic gold medalist Jon Olsen (19.74 – 1991).
Caciuc, Hornikel, freshman Alex Coci and junior Joe Ziegler combined to post a 1:19.45 in the freestyle relay, good for sixth place.
On the women's side, freshman Kristel Vourna's prelims time of 22.78 shaved more than a tenth of a second off her career-best time and puts her .07 off the school record of 22.71 set by Arlene Semeco in 2005. She was 12th in finals with a 22.91. She was tied for eighth in the preliminaries, and dropped into the consolation finals after losing the swim-off. Her
The sprinters weren't the only highlights for the Tide on the day two of the swimming events. Senior Catalin Cosma scored in the 500 freestyle after posting a 4:21.69 in finals to take 10th place. Freshman Devan Terry was 22nd in the 200 IM after posting a career-best 1:49.55, which ranks him eighth all-time for the Tide.
Senior Kate Shannon Gray touched the wall at 1:58.45 in the 200 IM, just off her school record, to take 11th place. Freshman Alex Popa, who joined the Tide in January, finished 18th in the 200 IM with a 2:01.35 while freshman Anna Rae Gwarjanski touched the wall at 2:01.50 to take 19th place. Popa's time ranks her fifth all-time for Alabama while Gwarjanski is now sixth all-time for the Tide in the 200 IM.
Sophomore Jenna Gallo finished 17th in the prelims of the 500 freestyle with a career-best 4:49.14, which ranks her four all-time for the Tide.
Popa, Vourna, Gwarjanski and senior Kelsie Ludolph closed out the night with a 1:32.06 in the 200 freestyle relay, taking seventh place.
The Crimson Tide returns to action on Friday with the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle and the 100 breaststroke.
INFORMATION SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA ATHLETICS
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